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Reform Magazine | December 5, 2023

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Back-to-front Advent calendar

Back-to-front Advent calendar

Back in Reform’s day, Advent calendars were different. Each day of December we’d tiptoe down the creaking spiral staircase of Reform Towers, open a window and be thrilled with delight to see a picture of a robin, a snowperson or perhaps a sock. These days, each window is full of chocolate so that the kids spoil their appetite before the most important meal of the day.

Let’s make Advent calendars different again. Here’s the plan. This year, every time you open a window, put in a pound. Then, at Christmas, celebrate by giving the £24 to a charity you think will make the best use of it. To help you out, we’ve asked eight charities to tell you what they would do with your £24.

Merry Christmas. Give well.

Embrace the Middle East
Help a pregnant refugee

‘Through Embrace, £24 will pay for essential health checks for pregnant refugee women in Egypt. Forced to flee their homes, through no fault of their own, refugees, including pregnant women, arrive in Cairo with no means of getting the essential health care they need. That’s when Embrace’s partner Refuge Egypt steps in to help them through childbirth, offering essential medical tests to ensure the safe delivery of their baby. Your £24 could pay for these checks, offering care and protection to a vulnerable mum-to-be this Christmas.’

To find out more or to donate, call 01494 897950 or visit


Mission Aviation Fellowship
Make the Bible heard

‘Your gift of £24 could help bring light to the spiritual darkness in Papua New Guinea through the provision of a solar audio Bible. The Mission Aviation Fellowship Technology Services team had the joy of giving one to a local pastor who had lost his sight in both eyes after being shot in the head during a tribal retribution attack. For ten long years he couldn’t read his Bible, but listening to this audio Bible in his local language has allowed him to continue his ministry sharing the Good News with those thirsting for the Word.’

To find out more or to donate, call 01303 852819 or visit


The Children’s Society
Pay a youth worker

‘Right now, some children in this country don’t feel safe, loved or able to cope. The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children when they are at their most vulnerable and have nowhere left to turn. Your £24 could give vulnerable children the promise of a brighter future this Christmas by going towards paying for one of our dedicated project workers who work directly with young people experiencing issues like abuse, hardship and neglect. We work with them, step by step, for as long as it takes – making the small changes that make a big difference.’

To find out more or to donate, call 0300 303 7000 or visit


Christian Aid
Double your money

‘The UK government’s match funding scheme will turn your £24 into £48 for Christian Aid to use supporting people in poverty. In 2017, famine was declared in parts of South Sudan – the first time it was declared anywhere in six years. More than three years of conflict had displaced nearly four million people, disrupting harvests and leading to devastating food shortages. Your £24 could supply a cash voucher to provide enough food for a family for 40 days. Donations made to the Christmas Appeal between 6 November 2017 and 5 February 2018 will be matched up to £2.7m.’

To find out more or to donate, call 020 7620 4444 or visit


Bible Society
Provide Bibles to refugees

‘“I met a Christian woman who invited me to church. I didn’t know anything about Christianity or Jesus. But we started studying the Bible. I’m so glad I did! The burden in my heart and soul has gone. I feel at peace,” said Yasmine. “I am proud to know Jesus Christ.” The Bible has changed the life of Yasmine, a Syrian refugee, who fled Aleppo for Lebanon. Your £24 will support Christians like her because the Bible is a lifeline for these new believers in the Middle East, where the Bible is transforming lives as we partner with the Church in mission.’

To find out more call 01793 418222 or to donate, visit


Home for Good
Support foster carers

‘Your £24 could help Home for Good begin the process of establishing a local group to support foster carers and adopters, and the children in their care. Peer-to-peer support groups can be a lifeline for foster carers and adoptive parents, who provide safe and loving homes to vulnerable children. Home for Good wants to train and support volunteers to establish groups across the country, so that families can access the informal support they need. We believe that this programme will help many more vulnerable children thrive in stable and resilient families.’

To find out more or to make a donation, call 0300 001 0995 or visit


Give eyesight

‘For £24, you can buy “Restore sight to an adult” from the Christmas gift catalogue of CBM, the overseas disability charity. Sight-restoring cataract surgery takes just 12 minutes, but for Ram it was truly life changing. For two years, Ram has not been able to leave his hut alone. Now he can visit his brother, children and grandchildren on his own again. 80% of the world’s blindness can be treated or easily prevented. By buying this gift you will fund a complete cataract surgery for an adult.’

For more information call 01223 484700 or visit


Visit a homeless family

Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, says: ‘This year I’ll be lucky enough to spend Christmas with my family in my own home. Yet for 300,000 others, this is sadly very far from their reality as they prepare to face Christmas without a home. Your donation of £24 to Shelter could change this by paying for our advisors to take two calls with a homeless family or help pay for one, in-depth, face-to-face advice session. So £1 a day may seem small to you but to us at Shelter, and the people we help, it could mean the difference between a Christmas at home or a Christmas alone.̕

For more information call 0300 330 1234 or visit


This article was published in the December 2017/January 2018 edition of  Reform

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